Solana: UN Vote on Fence Was 'Victory of EU Policy'

EU foreign policy chief tells Haaretz that vote proves joint, homogenous foreign policy possible even after EU's enlargement.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana sees last week's vote by the Europeans on a United Nations resolution on the West Bank separation fence as the victory of the coherence and efficiency of Europe's foreign and defense policy.

In an interview with Haaretz, Solana said that "the vote proves that a joint, homogenous foreign policy is possible even after the EU's enlargement, with the addition in May of 10 states from east and central Europe. In our vote, we presented joint superior values and policy lines, which we intend to promote internationally."

The resolution submitted by the Arab group passed Tuesday by a wide margin, with 150 member nations in favor, 6 against, and 10 abstaining. The six voting against were the U.S., Israel, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau.

A resolution passed by the assembly is non-binding and has mostly symbolic significance. However from Israel's standpoint, this is a severe resolution through which the PLO is striving to create the basis for intensifying Israel's isolation and sanctions against it, like those imposed on South Africa under apartheid.

Solana dismisses the arguments that the EU states were influenced in the vote by France's vindictiveness. "One could understand that the French were hurt by Sharon's call for French Jews to immigrate to Israel, but that had nothing to do with the vote in the UN. To say that shows a basic lack of understanding of the union's mechanism," he states.

"The fact that no European state abstained from the vote derives from the fact that the EU is a political union." To demonstrate, Solana - a physics professor - says, "the EU is not a rabble of states. It is a sort of molecule with joint electrons. These enable all of us to act together and make binding political decisions."

Solana notes that the states that hope to join the EU in the future - like Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and the Balkans - joined the European consensus in the UN vote as though it were self-evident. "The significance of the vote is in protecting the UN's multilateral values. We attribute supreme importance to the UN's three basic elements - the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Court - and believe the organization must play a more significant and important role."